Could you provide a brief introduction to AMS?
AMS was established in Salt Lake City in August 2017 to provide both drilling tools and technical expertise to suit any specific drilling projects needs. The company was created as an expansion of the business in Australia called Australasian Mining Services, as we saw the US as the next logical step in our internationalization process and great growth opportunities in Nevada’s mining industry. We secured a large four-year contract with Rio Tinto to supply all their drilling consumables at their Kennecott copper mine. Salt Lake City has become a central point for us, from where we service Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana. We currently do a lot of work related with exploration and construction in Nevada.
Can you provide an overview of your drilling and blasting products?
AMS offers a comprehensive range of products manufactured by Shareate Tools Ltd. These include DTH hammers and bits, tricones drill bits, drill string products, top hammer drilling consumables and many exploration and water well drilling products such as diamond coring bits and hammers. We utilize manufacturing capabilities in Australia, China and the US.
Can you highlight some of AMS’ latest innovations to improve the safety and performance of its tools?
Many of our product innovations are bought from Australia, which is extremely safety orientated. We have a lot of limitations on what we are allowed to lift, where we are allowed to stand, and noise limits. Therefore, we have identified some very useful products, especially around manual handling, and introduced them in the US market.
In addition, we are working to reduce the weight of historically heavy tooling. For example, deck bushes normally weigh 150-200 pounds, and we are reducing it to 50-80 pounds so that they can be manually handled. We also bring out numerous light weightlifting tools made of aluminum. The fact that the tools are used to lift something heavy does not mean they should be heavy and cumbersome as well.
We also implement a monthly reporting system to our customers to track the production and cost performance for every tool used in the Drill & Blast function to identify opportunities for research and development or operator training.
What are some of AMS’ standout projects and clients in Nevada's mining industry?
Some of our main clients in Nevada include Hycroft Mining, Borealis Mine Operation, I80 Business Park, Q&D Construction Quarries, and we also work extensively with all the drill and blast contractors in Nevada.
What makes AMS stand out in the competitive sphere?
In our industry, we have to compete with companies much bigger than ours, and the service we provide is our key differentiator. Anybody can supply a drill bit, but what really adds value to clients is our people on the ground. That is why we hire subject matter experts rather than salespeople. Our philosophy is to hire people with extensive mining and exploration experience and then teach them about sales, rather than the other way around. This is to ensure our people can provide real support to clients while onsite and can identify the risks that go with the mining and drilling environment. We are a small company which keeps us very customer focused. Everyone in our business from senior management to accounts contribute to all aspects and duties of delivering a service that is valued by our customers.
How do you see the growth potential for the company?
We are constantly looking for expansion opportunities. The challenge with expansion is always finding quality people, which is why we have engaged some employment agencies that are specific to the mining industry. This is costly in the short term, but in the long run you get quality candidates and a lower turnover. We also need to change our approach to attracting new employees. There are many people who have worked in mining their whole career and have good skills developed in operational management, IT, and procurement learnt in mining environments, but they choose to work for companies in other industries such as Amazon or Google that offer much more attractive employment conditions rather than just salary incentives.
Our quality drilling consumables supported by highly motivated engaged people will ensure we continue the growth we have achieved in the last five years.